by JoBeth Hooker

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine…” (Proverbs 17:22)

We all have sorrows. We all have heartaches. My preacher says that there are no minor problems. Every problem is major when you are the one going through it. Yet the Bible says we are to “rejoice always.” How do we get a merry heart or hope to laugh when we feel so sick on the inside? You know what I mean—when you would rather bite someone’s head off or feed them a knuckle sandwich!?! There is a way! PAIN IS INEVITABLE, BUT MISERY IS OPTIONAL! Since we know that there are going to be stressful and hurting times, we must PURSUE AND COLLECT HUMOR during our good times to use as a medicine for the bad times.

The following idea is not original. I got it from a friend who got it from someone else, but I believe it is wonderful! Create for yourself a JOY basket. (It doesn’t have to be a basket; it can be any type of container such as a shoe box. I happen to have a basket.) On my basket I made a doll holding a sign that reads: “Don’t pick on me; I’m a basket case already!”

I told my children, “When I have this basket in my lap, you know to steer clear of mom until you see me laughing. Then, I’m okay.”

You must collect and put in this basket anything that is fun, inspirational or cute—anything that makes you laugh. No, not mushy, not sentimental, only fun! Where do you find things to make you laugh? Look around. Cards, poems, Scripture verses, bumper sticker slogans, homemade gifts of love, gimmicks and cartoons are all items you can put in your joy basket. Have you heard a funny story? Write it down. Do you have a funny memory? Write it down. What was your most embarrassing moment? Write it down. Put all these stories in your basket.

Then, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or angry, take a laugh break. When you’re feeling worn out and defeated, take a laugh break. When you have it up to your gills with negatives, take a laugh break. It will revolutionize your life. Doctors and scientists have proven that humor will alter a mood. So try putting together a joy basket. What have you got to lose? A bad disposition? Got a grumpy husband? Make one for him and learn to laugh together.

Life Is Too Short and Life Is Too Long

Not to Enjoy It!